“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is the swoon-worthy historical fiction tale set during the aftermath of WW2 that will make you immediately want to watch come to life on screen (if you haven’t already). An epistolary book that is equal parts charming and thrilling, “The Guernsey” book will make you stay up late into the night getting to know the characters as the delicious plot unfolds.
I’m usually not drawn to historical romances, but there are always books that entice me out of my comfort zone. I credit these books to great blurbs, excellent reviews, and yes, sometimes even movies. After watching the same-titled Netflix adaptation of “The Guernsey” book, I was immediately intrigued mostly because the film embodies a classic romantic premise: a slow burn, “friends to lovers” storyline between Juliet and Dawsey. This is a first for me, because I almost always read the book before watching the movie.
When I started “The Guernsey” book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, I was immediately hooked. The reader is introduced to Juliet and Dawsey’s relationship right from the beginning, which continues to unfold throughout the duration of the book. Depicting life during post-WW2 Europe, the story centers on our protagonist, Juliet Ashton, who is an author searching for her next story and to rebuild her life along with the rest of London. The letters from the Society members (as well as a few others thrown in for a bit of controversy), seem to leap off the page as they are so full of vividly intense description of occupied Guernsey and post-war life. The way Juliet cultivates friendships on a little island in the English Channel all the way from London is both impressive and heart-warming to experience as a reader. It should come as no surprise that all of the letters are both achingly poignant, yet filled with such charm that it’s hard to not think of these characters as actual people.
Similar to the books that are so dear to Juliet and the Literary Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows have been able to weave in elements in that gripped me until the very end; a mystery enshrouding the Literary Society, love found and love lost, finding oneself in the most unusual places and most importantly: learning to embrace what life has in store for you.
I think one of the most beautiful aspects of “The Guernsey” book is something in which all readers can relate: Juliet (like us all) has been searching for meaning in her life, which has just been turned on end by WW2. Just like the people of the Literary Society, books have become a mainstay and an escape during the biggest events of her life thus far. This I believe is one of the more relatable aspects of the book as well. As a bookworm, I felt an immediate understanding regarding how a person could be so profoundly affected by a book that it becomes a focal point in their life. I’m sure other fellow bookworms will also agree with me.
From start to finish, the journey on which we follow Juliet is not one to miss.
I highly recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (and the film too!)